Over the weekend Joel Sherman wrote a piece for the New York Post taking a look at the free-agent shortstop class that was, and the one that is to come. The tandem of the two may go down to be one of the best back-to-back case studies in free-agent history. It’s not rocket science to suggest that Carlos Correa will opt out with Minnesota, but Sherman reiterates it again saying, “Barring catastrophic injury, Correa will opt out of the final two years at $70.2 million owed by the Twins. That will send him right back into the market, along with Bogaerts, Turner and Dansby Swanson.” That’s always been the expectation and should’ve been from the moment Scott Boras negotiated the contract with those terms to Derek Falvey and Minnesota’s front office.
Although the certainty of Correa opting out is there, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s gone. What happened this offseason was a reflection of the Twins being the best, and maybe most creative, bidder. They could certainly pony up the money again in order to keep their superstar. Minnesota has only $108 million on the books next year and that includes Correa’s $35.1 million. Their $73 million tied to 24 is virtually halved after Correa opts out. In short, there’s plenty of room for them to again, Pay. The. Man. This would obviously be the best case outcome.
A few weeks ago Twins Daily’s Cody Christie wrote about options Minnesota has at the position in the wake of Royce Lewis being lost due to a second torn ACL. We know that he’ll be out for around 12 months, and the only thing guaranteed is that he won’t be ready for Opening Day. What a second substantial knee injury does to a player is anyone’s guess though. One of the greatest strengths to Lewis’ game is his speed. He came back faster and stronger from his last injury, but there’s no telling if the body will respond the same this time around. Whether he’s a shortstop at all after this rehab will be something all parties must take a wait and see approach on.
While Minnesota has to decipher what they will do, and Cody’s options are among those they are weighing, Sherman’s story goes on to paint a cautionary tale when it comes to free agents as a whole. The reality is that money spent with multiple suitors for services often far outweighs actual production. Correa is the lone player from last year’s class performing admirably, but he’s doing so having missed substantial time due to injury and health related issues.
As Sherman points out, Correa and Story were both there for Twins fans to clamor over because their markets weren’t what was expected. We’re only talking about this opt-out because Correa’s deal was set up with an ability to kick the can down the road for a year and hope a more lucrative and longer-term situation played out. With the production tied to nearly $1 billion in spending on shortstops last offseason coming nowhere close in terms of equal value, it’s certainly fair to wonder how teams will respond.
In summing up his piece Sherman says, “In short, the next class at short again is going to be star-studded. Will the previous free-agent class and the coming class of prospects hurt the coming market?” In that, there’s maybe hope that even with an opt-out, Correa finds himself between opportunity and familiarity. Very few instances will ever find the Minnesota Twins as a top bidder, but given needs by all parties in this scenario, there may be reason to believe an agreeable situation can be struck for all.
Carlos Correa is going to opt-out, but then what?